Scott Kazmir to pitch in Dominican Winter League

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Here’s a blast from the relatively recent past.

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Scott Kazmir will pitch in the Dominican Winter League with the Escogido Lions.

Kazmir, as you’ll recall, made just one start in the majors this season before the Angels stashed him on the disabled list with a supposed back injury in early April. After he was knocked around the tune of a 17.02 ERA over five minor league rehab starts with Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels really had no choice but to release him and eat the $9.5 million left on his contract. The Texas native auditioned for a couple clubs this summer, including the Rangers, but nothing ever came of it.

Kazmir doesn’t turn 28 until January, believe it or not, so some team will likely take a chance and give him a spring training invite if he pitches well and proves healthy this winter, but he’s going to be a real project.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.